Jungle Vibes in Iquitos

Deep in the Peruvian jungle you’ll find a city unlike any other. Iquitos is not only the world’s largest city inaccessible by roads, but it’s the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon. Bustling highways are replaced by three major rivers, the Nanay, the Itaya and the Amazon, making all travel to and from Iquitos possible only by boat or plane.

Our shabby-chic floating hostel for the next three nights

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Iquitos is the heat. Yup, it’s hot — the kind of hot that welcomes you with a ferocious slap in the face and then goes onto cradle you throughout that day in a tepid pool of humidity and sweat. But it is more than welcomed after six months of persevering through Patagonia, over the Andes and up into Bolivia. The best part of Iquitos’ heat is that an afternoon siesta in a hammock is more than encouraged, it’s expected.

Besides the heat, Iquitos offers travelers barrels of fun activities. Grab yourself a moto-taxi from the center of town and within minutes you’ll be deposited off at a manatee rescue center, IIAP. There you’ll find baby manatee swimming around in shallow pools nibbling on water cabbage and accepting handfuls of chopped bananas from your outstretched hand. Adorable to say the least.

A baby manatee peeking over the side of the pool at the rescue centre

Feeding the baby manatees slices of banana

Perfectly cute and chubby. Adorable.

An adorable anteater at the manatee rescue centre

Further down the road is Quistococha, a lagoon surrounded by thick jungle bush and with a white sand beach. Local families retreat to this paradise to escape the heat of the dry season and soak up some sun while splashing around in the natural pool. Besides the refreshing water of the lagoon, Quistococha is also a zoo and botanical garden showcasing some of the Amazon jungles different animals and plants. Jaguars, spider monkeys, one Red Uakari monkey, capybaras and paiches, the largest fresh water fish in the world and similar to something you might see at Jurassic Park can all be found at the zoo. And if you find yourself brave enough, the zoo has a friendly anaconda that an old snake wrangler will wrap around your neck for 2 soles.

The beach at Quistococha along the Amazon river

The delicious eats at Quistococha, including grubs and piranha

A beautiful flower and a jaguar at Quistococha

The largest rodent in the world, the capybara

Spider monkeys and a big lizard

"Mr. handsome", the Red Uakari monkey

Leah with her new BFF, the anaconda

Gill using all her muscles to hold up this big guy

Definitely worth the trek, Iquitos’ chilled out jungle vibe is the perfect place to spend your days rocking in a hammock or exploring the depths of the Amazon.

Taking a mototaxi around town

Where in the world is Iquitos